California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer blamed the tornado that devastated Oklahoma on global warming during a Senate floor speech Tuesday, using the opportunity to push her own plan to tax carbon dioxide emissions.
“This is climate change,” Boxer said. “This is climate change. We were warned about extreme weather: Not just hot weather, but extreme weather. When I had my hearings, when I had the gavel years ago — it’s been a while — the scientists all agreed that what we’d start to see was extreme weather.”
“Carbon could cost us the planet,” Boxer added, plugging her own carbon tax bill, co-sponsored by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. “The least we could do is put a little charge on it so people move to clean energy.”
The massive tornado that hit Oklahoma had winds up to 200 miles per hour and killed at least 51 people as it tore through neighborhoods. USA Today reports that more than 120 people were receiving treatment at hospitals, including about 50 children.
Boxer is not the only Democrat to blame the tornado on global warming, as Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse spent 15 minutes on the Senate floor ranting against Republicans for denying man-made global warming.
Boxer and Sanders introduced a carbon tax shortly after President Barack Obama threatened to use his executive authority to address global warming if Congress failed to act. Their bill would put a gradually rising fee on carbon dioxide emissions to fund green-energy projects such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass.
Another group of House and Senate Democrats have also introduced draft legislation that would also slap carbon emissions with a gradually rising fee to reduce the use of carbon-heavy energy sources, like coal.
“You’re going to have tornadoes and all the rest. We need to protect our people,” Boxer said on the Senate floor. “That’s our No. 1 obligation and we have to deal with this threat that is upon us and that is gonna get worse and worse through the years.”
A study by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) argued that a revenue-neutral carbon tax could be a “cure worse than the disease.”
“The dismal record of the U.S. government in implementing efficient climate change policies is hardly evidence in favor of a massive new carbon tax (or cap-and-trade program),” said the study’s author, IER senior economist Robert Murphy in an accompanying statement. “[S]uch a new program will be abused in the political process, and will not be tailored to the recommendations of climate scientists and environmental economists.”
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